Newcastle United star asks for contract extension but club say no
Maybe it is because we are coming up to the end of the season, or possibly it is just a reflection of the general disconnect between the club owner & his people and those he employs, but a number of players (and manager!) are becoming increasingly open about their situations.
One of those is Mohamed Diame.
The midfielder is quite happy to clarify/confirm, that 25 Premier League starts this season, would guarantee him another year at Newcastle United.
He is also more than happy to talk about Mike Ashley’s contract policy, stating ‘it is difficult to get an extension when you are over 30 here.’
The midfielder is comfortable as well in telling the media and fans that he approached the club and asked for a two year extension but they Mike Ashley and his people said no.
Whilst Mohamed Diame has had some injury issues, it is telling that he has been available for most Premier League matches since starting against Man Utd on 2 January 2019, but has only started two of them.
You would find it difficult to imagine Rafa Benitez allowing himself to be dictated to on team selection simply to prevent the one year contract extension for Diame.
However, Isaac Hayden is now likely to be looked after (ongoing hip problem) and so with safety confirmed, it will be interesting to see what Rafa does.
If Ki stays in the team and Hayden is ruled out along with Longstaff, it appears a straight choice between Mohamed Diame and Jonjo Shelvey, Shelvey not having been selected to start any first team game since 3 November 2018.
If the manager doesn’t give Diame the two starts he needs to get another year at the club, it may give some small grounds for optimism that just possibly it isn’t a foregone conclusion that Rafa Benitez will be leaving. The manager wanting as much flexibility as possible if he is going to be here next season, not wanting Mohamed Diame taking up wages and a valuable place in the squad, if he doesn’t see him as a first choice player.
Due to turn 32 in June, to be honest I would agree with the club on rejecting the idea of a two year contract for the midfielder. He was no better than average in the Championship, had that purple patch (as many players did) from February to April last season, whilst this season has generally been no better than average when selected. Maybe his best contribution has been seen in three of his last four substitute appearances, when helping the team see out wins against Southampton, Leicester and Burnley.
For what it is worth, I don’t think Mohamed Diame will be given the two starts from three that he needs for that one year extension.
Plus, I think that if he does end up still being here next season, it will be as the result of things having gone badly with both Rafa Benitez and hopes of any ambition in the transfer market. A result of Rafa leaving, a puppet manager brought in to replace him, with Mike Ashley allowing a one year deal for Diame as a cut price short-term alternative having opted not to allow money to be spent on better quality in midfield.
A position where there currently looks decent strength in depth but with Shelvey and Hayden looking all but certain to leave, one that could quickly look short on numbers and quality to an extent. Also, if Rafa Benitez did leave, we could also have the possibility of Jack Colback seeing out the last season of his contract as part of a cobbled together NUFC squad.
So much needs to be sorted and with only 20 days until he takes charge of his final game (of current contract), no positive signals of any progress being made on Rafa Benitez staying.
Mohamed Diame speaking to The Chronicle:
“The situation (with my contract) is still the same, I need two more starts to get one extra year.
“But, I spoke with the club, and when we were talking about my contract, I asked for two years, and they don’t want that.
“We know what they want for this club, it is difficult to get an extension when you are over 30 here.
“It is not a problem for me, it is football and part of the job.
“If I get the opportunity to stay, I will stay.
“If not, I will go somewhere else and enjoy my football.
“I don’t know (if I will still be at Newcastle next season) at all.
“I am trying to enjoy it as much as I can because it’s amazing playing here with all the fans, and more when we have got an atmosphere like this and we are winning games.
“I’m just trying to enjoy it as much as I can and after, we will see what happens.
“I will be fine, of course, as I have said (before_, being a player who played for ten years in this country – it opens you a lot of doors and I will be fine.
“But, as I’ve said since the beginning: I’m so happy here and I’m enjoying my days in Newcastle. So, we will see.”
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